Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Opinion: How to make your brand matter | Advertising Age

Wake up, read the news, see an ad. Scroll through social, see more ads. Pass by a digital billboard, see multiple ads.

U.S. consumers are increasingly bombarded with messages—by day’s end, some 4,000 to 10,000 per day, according to Red Crow Marketing. And because consumers don’t want to be bothered by these ads, the rise of ad-blockers is also increasing.

Is it even possible to cut through the clutter?

It’s a question that’s never been more relevant, as brand loyalty quickly becomes a thing of the past. Not only are consumers tuning out the noise, but today they can get whatever they want, whenever they want, from a variety of different places. Seventy-seven percent of brands could disappear, and most consumers wouldn’t even care, suggests a Havas Meaningful Brands study released last year.

But here’s the good news: More than 80 percent of those surveyed in McCann Worldgroup’s The Truth About Global Brands study firmly believe brands have the power to effect positive social change, and respondents said they would be more likely to buy from a brand with purpose. Indeed, brands with a high sense of purpose have experienced a brand valuation increase of 175 percent over the past 12 years, according to Kantar Consulting’s new Purpose 2020 report.

So do brands really matter? The answer is yes, but it’s up to us to make sure that they do, keeping in mind that purpose is not just about going green or giving to charity. Those things are important, but in order to be successful, purpose needs to be something embedded into the core of your brand’s personality as well as its business strategy.


To be successful, brands need to tap into the experiences and things that consumers care about the most.

Today we should be putting people’s passions—from sports and entertainment, cooking and travel, to charitable pursuits and beyond—at the top of the marketing funnel. By curating authentic passion-based experiences, you enable your product to resonate more strongly with the consumer. Imagine if you’re a sports fan at a baseball game who, in using a certain product, has an enhanced experience that allows you to meet the players: That speaks volumes about what you can deliver.


Salary is no longer the top incentive to take a job. Nearly nine out of 10 of those surveyed, or 86 percent, of millennials would consider taking a pay cut to work at a company with a mission and values aligned with their own, according to LinkedIn’s latest Workplace Culture report. By comparison, only 9 percent of baby boomers would. Purpose is transforming corporate cultures.

When a company has a strong sense of purpose that starts within and authentically emanates everywhere, it attracts talent, customers and creates overall brand affinity. Charity starts at home, and when you create a culture that’s accepting, encouraging and empowering, you can unleash your most powerful brand ambassadors yet—your employees.


Purpose is not just philanthropy, but rather the ability to embed social good into the core of your business. And when 75 percent of people agree that companies can increase profits while improving economic and social conditions in their communities, it’s a clear sign that purpose and business are not mutually exclusive. The key is to find that authentic link.

The call to action for companies is clear: Bring to the table the technologies and infrastructure, capital and creativity, and, importantly, the power and role of brands.
Doing well by doing good is not a fad. Purpose is a long-term commitment and is here to stay.

Build on strengths

Here are six principles to help guide you: Start with a cause or purpose tied to your business model or brand; focus on scalable ideas;
use the power of collaboration and partnerships; commit for the long haul; secure commitment from the top; and engage your employees.

And remember, your energy and focus is a currency—don’t waste it.


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